- Spirited comeback not enough to deny Cross Keys
- Consolation losing bonus points for All Whites
- Injuries pile up for Swansea in muddy affair
By: Paul Hopkins
A spirited comeback wasn’t enough for the All Whites to claim the spoils as an outstanding Cross Keys defence kept them out at the death.
When flanker Jon Fox dropped a high ball from the kick off, Keys immediately showed their attacking intent. Full back Josh Prosser kicked to the corner and lock Scott Andrews collected the lineout, but prop Tom Sloane disrupted the attack with a failed interception.
Keys took an early lead when a patient build up and sustained pressure by the pack resulted in a try for prop Richard Cornock. Prosser missed the conversion.
With the visitors looking well on top a superb move involving Prosser and centre Lewis Barnett took play inside the Swansea twenty-two, but a handling error by flanker Josh Skinner brought an end to the promising move.
Another attack followed when Scott Matthews made a line break and was supported by fellow flanker Tom Lampard, but winger Barney Nightingale was bundled into touch a few metres short of the line.
A powerful burst by centre Jarryd Sage earned his side a penalty when the Swansea pack dived off their feet into a ruck. Prosser kicked the three pointer.
Swansea made a rare foray into the Cross Keys half with a rolling maul, which was illegally brought down. Fly half Gareth Walters kicked to the corner and a second maul was collapsed by the visitors. It was almost third time lucky, but flanker Jon Vaughan was driven into touch inches from the line.
Just before half time a powerful scrum by the home pack earned a penalty, which centre Owen Howe duly converted.
Half-time:- Swansea 3 Cross Keys 8
From the restart a barnstorming run by Lampard caught the Whites’ defence cold as Keys swept the ball out wide for Skinner to score in the corner. Prosser converted.
The gap was reduced to nine points with a Howe penalty goal after the Keys’ defence killed the ball under the posts.
Prosser turned down a kickable penalty, instead opting for a chip to the corner. It proved the right decision as hooker Darren Hughes charged over to score in the corner.
Skinner grabbed his second try and a bonus point for the visitors with an opportunistic chip and chase from a Swansea error. Prosser converted.
A dangerous tackle by Garrett saw him promptly sent to the sin-bin. It proved costly as replacement scrum half Josh Guy dived over to score from the next play.
The home side were right back in it when a horrendous mistake by the Keys’ defence let in full back Richard Fussell for a try under the posts. Walters converted.
Walters kicked a penalty goal to cut the gap to just four points inside the final ten minutes. Then a powerful run by Andrews forced replacement centre James Davies well offside and he was given a yellow card. Prosser kicked the three pointer.
Swansea had one last attack and a swinging arm by Barnett reduced his side to 14 men for the remaining seconds, but a titanic defence by the visitors kept Swansea at bay in a thrilling finale.
Next up for Swansea is a trip to RGC 1404, while Cross Keys host Llandovery.
Full-time:- Swansea 23 Cross Keys 30
Tries:- Josh Guy (67), Richard Fussell (69)
Cons:- Gareth Walters (68, 70)
Pens:- Owen Howe (40+2, 49), Gareth Walters (76)
Yellow cards:- James Davies (80)
Cross Keys scorers:
Tries:- Richard Cornock (8), Josh Skinner (43, 60), Darren Hughes (52)
Cons:- Josh Prosser (44, 61)
Pens:- Josh Prosser (30, 80+1)
Yellow cards:- Luke Garrett (64), Lewis Barnett (80+5)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Referee:- Gareth John
Weather:- Sunny, 8C
Man of the match:- Josh Prosser
15 Richard Fussell
14 Andrew Claypole
13 J Rhys Williams
12 Owen Howe (rep: James Davies 54)
11 Dan Howells
10 Gareth Walters
9 Matthew Aubrey (rep: Josh Guy 38)
1 Tom Sloane © (rep: Jack Powell 40+6)
2 Paul John (rep: Tom Ball 67)
3 Mitchell Walsh (rep: Richard Murphy 67)
4 Sam Kiley (rep: Steffan Jones 46)
5 Jay Williams
6 Jon Vaughan
7 Ben Davies (rep: Steffan Jones 38-41 (rep: Jordan Sherman 74))
8 Jon Fox
16 Tom Ball
17 Jack Powell
18 Richard Murphy
19 Steffan Jones
20 Jordan Sherman
21 Josh Guy
22 James Davies
23 Jake Randall
Cross Keys team:
15 Josh Prosser
14 Mathew Powell
13 Lewis Barnett
12 Jarryd Sage
11 Barney Nightingale
10 Corey Shephard
9 James Leadbeater (rep: Owain Leonard 54)
1 Corey Hewlett (rep: Luke Garrett 54)
2 Darren Hughes
3 Richard Cornock (rep: Scott Evans 60)
4 Tom Lampard
5 Scott Andrews
6 Josh Skinner
7 Scott Matthews ©
8 Adam Powell
16 Gary Carpenter
17 Luke Garrett
18 Scott Evans
19 Harvey Reader
20 Ashley Gibson
21 Joe Thomas
22 Owain Leonard
23 Ben Snell